Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Collectible You: Sinatra Records Rising in Value

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Collectible You: Sinatra Records Rising in Value

Article excerpt

"Frankie! Frankie!"

Frank Sinatra, who released his first new recording in 10 years this holiday season, is more than a timeless crooner whose music is still played non-stop in hundreds of restaurants. In some corners, Ol' Blue Eyes is considered an investment.

While not igniting the collector frenzy of vintage Elvis Presley or Beatles memorabilia, many of his items are rising in value:

"Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music (Part II)," a promotional album distributed free by Budweiser in 1966, features Sinatra sporting a mustache on its cover. Worth $150 to $200 five years ago, today it commands $300 to $400 in mint condition.

"From the Bottom of My Heart," a hard-to-find 1939 recording that originally sold for less than $1, was valued at $350 to $500 five years ago. It now goes for $500 to $1,000.

Sinatra movie promotional posters from theater lobbies of the 1940s, worth $100 apiece five years ago, have tripled in value.

A typical Sinatra autograph worth up to $200 five years ago has since doubled in value.

Most Sinatra memorabilia actually is worth little, due to poor condition or the fact that so many copies were made. Complicating matters, the re-release of an old album on CD usually can diminish the value of an original album by making it less exclusive.

Nonetheless, Sinatra's new recording, "Frank Sinatra Duets," from Capitol Records, also has targeted the collector market, though the experts aren't willing to take a stab at its eventual value.

A total of 3.6 million compact discs, cassettes and vinyl LPs were issued of this recording, which features such artists as Barbra Streisand and Bono of the rock group U2 singing with Sinatra. Because only 2,500 vinyl LPs were made and the first 1 million CDs made were individually numbered, avid collectors are buying up multiple copies and stashing them away unopened.

"I think his new recording will bring a new generation of collectors into the Sinatra market and increase demand for his older collectibles," predicted Gary Doctor, president of the 2,000-member International Sinatra Society. "My advice for collectors of older original albums is that the most desirable and valuable ones are those with the cover and record in superb shape. …

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